In all the uncertainty about the current triathlon and sporting racing calendar, its important as athletes to refocus and assess our training needs and goals. Here we look at a few things that could help you 'keep calm and carry on', give you purpose and clarity going forward over the coming months.
At the end of the day, endurance athletes of all levels are systematic planners and doers. Many of us can find ourselves in a 'crisis of motivation' with a lack of race plans and uncertainty for the future. Its essential to remember that we are still healthy and lucky and to keep training, enjoying the process and keep our perspective. At the end of the day, no matter what, you are in the sport for a reason... It doesn't matter when the next race will be... it will come, and you must be as prepared as possible for that.
It would be a good idea to take a step back and reassess your goals and objectives with your coach. This could mean rather than aiming for a race performance target, move back to physiological goals. Move a couple of steps back down in the training hierarchy pyramid, drop the anaerobic cap training, and make intervals more extensive and less intensive. This doesn't mean neglecting things like strength and speed at all, just a reduction of the race specific pace work that can lead to a 'wasted peak'.
Dependant on your individual government situations and restrictions, you should still have access to the roads for riding and running, and worst case, at least indoor trainers of some sort. This is two of three disciplines which you are able to keep your aerobic system firing with. Speaking from recent experience, its definitely possible to keep on top of that system with two disciplines, however its important not to panic or overtrain those two disciplines (especially the run to mitigate injury risk). Have discussions with your coach to work out a program that will fill any gaps left from a potential lack of swimming due to pool closures.
Again, don't panic. It doesn't take long to regain swimming feel and fitness. If you haven't got access to water (lake, open water, pool, endless pool etc), as and when you get back in it don't over cook it. Don't panic train and 'over swim'. Its necessary to exhibit control and work your way back in slowly. This isn't easy, and after getting back in the water after being out of it for 6 weeks pre Christmas, it wasn't nice to be at the back of the lane trying to convince myself it was the right thing to be doing, but before long you can feel it coming back and you'll be back to where you were before you know it.
At the end of the day everyone is in the same or similar situation and its important to use sport as a means of escapism and not stress about the fact it may not be the same as before. Remember why you enjoy it and just keep going with the process. Do what you can when you can. Learn to enjoy the process all over again and in different ways.
Small learnings from my period of self isolation having broken my thumb causing a 6 week period of indoor training and no swimming:
A smart trainer was a life saver - I know for a fact that I wouldn't have been able to have done the volume of training on the bike without it. 15 hours a week indoors staring at a fan wouldn't have been possible without being held at specific powers or HR's, allowing me to get the biggest bang for buck and watching countless box sets / movies (get in touch for recommendations) ... Now could be the time to invest.
Join Zwift or Trainer road - Having others to join in the virtual world or being able to set training sessions on the computer is a great way of maintaining motivation
Buy a decent fan - keeping cool indoors is essential. Dehydration is not pleasant and makes you ratty.
Have a plan and keep to it - Having a plan on training peaks and seeing what was on the horizon was another way of keeping motivation. Ticking off the sessions was very rewarding!
Have Physiological targets / goals - this gives each session purpose and meaning.
Don't over train - Just because you may have more time on your hands doesn't mean you shouldn't listen to your coach with regards to steady progression. Overtraining can lead to injury risk and illness!
Keep on top of S+C - Swimming is largely about core stability in order to keep a good position in the water. Keep on top of your strength and conditioning around the core and shoulders to give yourself a seamless transition back into the pool.
Remember to subscribe to receive weekly newsletters and updates on blog releases looking at Industry news and trends, Performance tricks and tips, Product updates/ reviews and Q+A's with athletes, coaches and readers!